The Cycle of Life

by Sharell शारेल on October 3, 2011

in Inspirational India

Post image for The Cycle of Life

I arrived back in Mumbai late last week, emotionally and physically exhausted. Promoting my book had been draining, particularly for someone like me who doesn’t enjoy talking about myself a lot.

Leaving the comfort and familiarity of my parents’ home and my childhood bedroom was especially difficult this time. I cried more than I ever have. Even though I’m an adult, I really don’t feel like it sometimes. Sometimes, following a non-conformist path in life, with so much uncertainty, away from family and friends is overwhelming.

Yet, as soon as I stepped out of Mumbai airport and was enveloped in the fragrant, moist, warm air my inspiration immediately returned. Mumbai looked green after the monsoon. A huge bunch of flowers from my husband waited for me at home. And, I had a lunch date with a friend from Melbourne at the newly opened Out of the Blue restaurant in Powai. She often comes to India to visit her Indian boyfriend, and our lives have turned into a surreal series of meetings in both Melbourne and Mumbai. We drank wine, talked and laughed.

It’s interesting how life often moves in cycles.

When I was back in Melbourne to attend interviews and other events, I found that my publisher had booked me into the hotel directly opposite the building I first worked in. Not only that, my room was just one floor below the floor that my office had been on. I remembered how my colleagues and I used to look in amusement out our windows at the hotel guests in their rooms, who were totally unaware that we could see them. This time around, I was one of the hotel guests. I could catch glimpses of desks, with paperwork stacked high, and felt so thankful that none of them were mine.

Life really is an amazing journey. Let’s see what it brings next!

Photo: Happy Friends.

21 people like this post.
© Copyright 2011 Sharell शारेल, Diary of a White Indian Housewife 2008-2014. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.

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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie October 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Welcome back in incredible India, Sharell !
Yes, life keeps in store lots of amazing surprises for us …
Best wishes and lots of love !

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Sharell October 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Thanks so much Annie! You’ll be here soon again too! :-)

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Helene October 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I hope your book is successful and that you get a well deserved rest. How nice of your hubby to get you flowers !

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Bronwyn October 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Glad to have you back! Aap hamare Bombay me swagat hai!

I was just in Varanasi for a few days (pictures to follow!) and though I loved the time there, it was mixed. I felt obligated to a lot of people, and also held onto a bit of guilt: whenever I’m in Varanasi, I spend time with the sweetest group of orphan girls. I spent 5 months with them initially, and now only visit in short bursts. Of course they won’t say “Didi, agar aap ek mahine ke liye nahi rahe sakegi, to mat ao,” but I feel bad to stroll in and out of their lives. I’d prefer to stay with them, or not visit at all, because I feel bad to be another person who they cannot depend on. Food for thought.

Anyways, touching back down in Mumbai last night felt right. And when I got to my building, there was a full Dandiya dance, with all of the women and girls dancing and blocking the entrance. What a welcome.

Welcome back!

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priya October 3, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Wow…that’s almost a full circle for you Sharell…must have been a nostalgic moment for you. Whenever i pass my old office building, suddenly i feel all the memories gushing back!! Good luck to you sharell for your book!

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naomi October 3, 2011 at 10:10 pm

life is miraculously amazing!!!! welcome back to India!

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Cyn October 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Welcome back!
I can imagine the nostalgia at play seeing your old office and life from “the other side of the street” litterally!

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Cora October 3, 2011 at 10:42 pm

What a crazy experience that must have been! I had a similar one – worked for years in an office that was literally across what was basically an alley from a nice hotel. We’d watch the maids and hotel guests in there every day, wondering if they could see us too.

I can’t wait to read your book. Glad you made it available as a download on Amazon for those of us outside Australia.

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Sharell October 4, 2011 at 9:48 am

Hi Cora (that was my Nanna’s name too :-) ) ! Hope you’ll enjoy the book. I wish it was available overseas in paperback too, but download is better than nothing so far.

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Cora October 19, 2011 at 7:18 am

Sharell, The book was wonderful! I really enjoyed reading your story. You’ve really made me want to see more of India than what I’ve seen so far. :)

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Sharell October 19, 2011 at 10:43 am

Awesome! I’m so happy to hear that. 8)

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MSudhakar October 3, 2011 at 11:01 pm

I’m actually relieved to hear you say that you were emotional over leaving your former home even after being away all this time. I too married a man from India and in the near future, once his schooling here in the states is complete, we will move to India indefinitely. I have lived away from my family for over 7 years now, but I am still reassured that they are in the same country and culture; however, when we move it will be entirely different.
I think a piece of my heart will always be tied to my native homeland, and that is a truth I will have to accept. I have tried and am trying to prepare myself to better adapt for the future move. Your blog has been very helpful for this, and I greatly enjoy reading it. Thank you!

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Sharell October 4, 2011 at 9:46 am

I’m glad it’s been helpful for you. Living in a different country has really changed the dynamics in my relationship with my parents. When I lived in Melbourne (2 hours from home) I only saw them a few times a year on the weekends — I got so busy with life that I didn’t go home much. Now, I see them for much longer — weeks at a time, because I always stay with them and spend as much time with them as possible. The fact that I get so much closer to them during that time makes it so much harder to leave, and the time I spend with them more important.

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Raghavan October 4, 2011 at 12:56 am

Welcome back Sharell, I am back on here after a while myself too :)

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Anjali October 4, 2011 at 1:38 am

Welcome back to Mumbai Sharell,

I can totally relate to the feeling of still feeling like a kid inspite of being an adult, there’s a certain part of us that never wants to grow up, and being with family gives us that comfort to be that inner child again…. I am not a crier, but everytime I leave Mumbai I’m always in tears, and sad throughout the flight back if not more, it takes me a few days to get back to normal after I’m back…Being away from loved ones for long stretches of time is surely a very difficult thing, and not everyone is tough enough to deal with it….
But I’m sure being with hubby again was a big plus side, and in no time you’ll feel right at home again…and you couldn’t have come at a better time, with all the festive feel about to begin… :-)

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Sharell October 4, 2011 at 10:12 am

Thanks Anjali. I really appreciate your reassurance too. I feel so over emotional sometimes, but I’m glad I’m not the only one. It really helps knowing that others go through similar things.

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Kate October 4, 2011 at 3:07 am

Hi Sharell,

Can I ask you what the restaurant was like? Was it good? Would you recommend it? What sort of cuisine did it serve?

Many thanks!

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Sharell October 4, 2011 at 9:34 am

Hi Kate, yes, it’s really good. Highly recommended (and much anticipated in coming to Powai.. it’s probably my favourite place). It’s a mixture of food, great wine, great atmosphere — European I guess. The have a Women’s Day every Wednesday lunchtime, with a buffet for 295 rupees (including sizzlers) and they have all kinds of activities like tarot, palmistry etc. It’s similar to the Out of the Blue restaurant in Bandra. :-)

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Kate October 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Sounds delightful! Thank you so much for answering my questions. I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in town.

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Manny October 4, 2011 at 5:27 am

Welcome Home!

:)

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V. October 4, 2011 at 6:01 am

Wow, that universe has a funny way of showing us how far we’ve come.
x

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Barns October 4, 2011 at 8:19 am

I’m envious of that friend you met up with, and if it’s the friend I think it is, I’m envious of you too, Sharell!

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Sharell October 4, 2011 at 9:30 am

I think it is the friend you’re thinking of …it’s a friend we both know. ;-)

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V. October 6, 2011 at 5:58 am

Oh shucks you guys! Make me all shy and stuff.
I’m going to have to go put on a moustache so no one can see how red I’ve gone. :{D

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Amit Desai October 4, 2011 at 6:07 am

Life is indeed an amazing journey, an amazingly costly one!

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Arti October 4, 2011 at 8:07 am

Well Mumbai has its own charm! Welcome back.
And thats life, takes you up and then down and then up again!!! Have a wonderful week ahead Sharell:)
My Yatra Diary…

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Amit K October 4, 2011 at 10:16 am

hey Sharell, Welcome Back!! you have come at right time as its festival season. Best of luck for ur book. Im sure its gonna be a hit.

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Sharell October 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

Thanks Amit. There’s a big Durga Puja pandal just around the corner from where we live, so will be going there this evening. 8)

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Kay October 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Welcome back to India! The restaurant you described sounds cozy and nice. One of the things I love about Mumbai is the diversity of cuisines / charming little eateries that do not demand an arm and a leg [like Delhi / NCR].

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masalabou October 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm

We’ve wondered a few times, is there a single Ethiopian restaurant in India? If so is it in Mumbai? (Maybe there are more but I don’t think there are any in Kolkata!)

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prashanth October 6, 2011 at 4:17 am

I went to an Ethiopian restaurant, a couple of times and found that they have pancakes similar to the South Indian pancakes (Dosa/Masala Dosa). It also looks like you folks have some similar food items/recipes. So, India wouldn’t be much of a ‘Food Shock’ for you folks.

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TAMASHA! October 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm

HAPPY DASHAIN EVERYBODY!!!
WELCOME BACK SHARELL!!!

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Helene October 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm

@Tamasha – Love your knew gravatar :)

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prashanth October 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm

A Frenchwoman who loves a burqa clad woman is something interesting and should make it to the news headlines. :P

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TAMASHA! October 5, 2011 at 10:20 pm

@Helene & prashanth-
That was my ‘ninja’ gravatar. ;)

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daniela October 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Oh, Sharell, so good to read your relief being just in the other side where you have worked and feel all those paper doesn´t belong to you anymore. Interest. It´s kind of an evidence that you are right in follow your heart and dreams. Good way to go girl.

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Jen October 4, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Hi Sharell,

I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months and it’s really helped me feel more calm about my situation. My fiance is from Ahmedabad and he’s expressed interest in having us move to India (we’re in the U.S. right now). I’m trying to find out what my job prospects would look like–preferably at a non-profit (NGO), but I’ve been having a hard time looking online. Do you know of any reliable websites?

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Ameena October 5, 2011 at 2:12 am

Congratulations on your book! I just found your site today, which is a crazy coincidence because I recently saw your episode of House Hunters International! As the product of a white mother and an Indian father I was really fascinated with your story.

Anyway, it’s great to find your blog and I’m sure I’ll be back!

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Sharell October 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Thanks for stopping by Ameena! :-) (Ugh, they’re STILL screening that HH episode. lol.). I’m so glad you have a blog. I’m really interested in reading it (obviously because I will have a child like you one day!), and I had a quick peek and it looks great. Your mother and father must’ve been quite revolutionary in their time to get married. It’s fascinating that you got married to an Indian guy (and what a beautiful family photo you have on your blog) — I’ve always wondered what my child would choose, Indian or white person! Anyway, I can’t wait to read more about you (and definitely your take on motherhood and marriage).

PS. As for your book, being a blogger can definitely get you a book deal — I’m evidence of that. So, don’t give up! ;-)

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amar October 5, 2011 at 11:30 am

Hi Sharell:

Welcome back! What a contrast it must be: the quiet of Australia and the daily noise and din (add the dandiya decibels) of Mumbai.

Hope you will be updating the blog more frequently now that the book is out and you are done with your promotions. Would like to read the book as when it lands in Mumbai.

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Nena October 6, 2011 at 1:44 am

I know it can feel overwhelming and kind of strange to live a life that isn’t like everyone else. It can feel tiring and you feel like “Ugh! Do I really want to do this?” However, trying to live a “regular life” like everyone else isn’t too fun either.

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Sharell October 6, 2011 at 7:33 pm

That’s exactly it, Nena!

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Amit K October 6, 2011 at 9:49 am

Hi Sharell, So how was the Durga Puja? Hope U had fun and enjoyed it.

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Mat Diplo October 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm

The cycle of life has ended for Steve Jobs (56)–I am so deeply saddened today because I am a MAC not a PC. What a young age to go. So sad.

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Mat Diplo October 6, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Probably one of the best and most inspiring speeches Steve Jobs ever gave (at Stanford University)–really worth watching–puts life into perspective:

http://
www [dot] youtube [dot] com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

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Sharell October 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I found this quote from him to be very meaningful:

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

I’m not an Apple user (the only thing I have is an iPod) but Steve Jobs was definitely a remarkable and visionary man.

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Mat Diplo October 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I like that quote–re. one’s own inner voice. The Steve Jobs quotes that inspired me are “Stay hungry, stay foolish” and “Sometimes life’s gonna hit you in the head with a brick…don’t lose faith…you’ve got to find what you love…keep looking, don’t settle”. What an amazing dude.

Instead of “RIP”, for Steve Jobs the “I” should be a small “i”.

RiP Steve Jobs!

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prashanth October 7, 2011 at 3:26 am

“Instead of “RIP”, for Steve Jobs the “I” should be a small “i”.

RiP Steve Jobs!”

@Mat

iRIP

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Manny October 6, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Hi Sharell,

For you. You may have seen this already… or may not have. But here you go.

It’s an amazing speech

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/05/steve-jobs-stanford-commencement-address_n_997301.html

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Manny October 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Sorry for the dup. Its already been posted by Mat. :)

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Sharell October 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm

But there is the transcript. 8) So, I can read it over and over. There are so many meaningful things to take in. I think I may even print it out for future reference, when I feel like things are tough sometimes.

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Mat Diplo October 6, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I can’t believe what some “LAW OF ATTRACTION (LoA)” people are saying about that Steve Jobs’ speech–LoA people say what you think about you bring about. In the Stanford speech Steve Jobs quoted from a quote he read:

” ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ ”

Steve Jobs then said this is how the quote made him feel:

” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. ”

OK, so he thought this for 33 years! That proves the LoA is not real! Personally I don’t believe these “LoA” people and do not buy this “LoA” theory. I personally think his cancer was just pure chance and it is just so very sad–especially as he was so young. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most violent types, most people only survive months–it is amazing he lasted 8 years!

A lot of news papers are already talking about his Syrian biological father, his love child he had with some other woman and are doing a complete audit on his life. Steve Jobs was not perfect, he was just human, but personally I think he was one of the most inspiring humans on the planet and I must admit when I first heard his famous Stanford speech it did inspire me a lot and still inspires me even now.

As for Apple, their recent products with their soldered in fixed battery, lack of USB ports on the iPad, and non expandable flash memory are reducing its greatness and making Sony Vaio shine brighter. Also where is the anti virus software for MAC–it is a myth they don’t get viruses!

You can also download his speech as an MP3 from Apple iTunes for FREE and listen to it on your iPod! Thanks for the transcript! :)

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masalabou October 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I think you are brave to write so honestly.
The only thing which confuses me is that on one hand you say you don’t like talking about yourself and you wrote about not wanting everything to come out, but then again your blog is quite promotional in style, you have quite a few pictures of you. I like your blog, but the vast majority of my favourites have no pictures at all. I’m not generally keen on self promotion. I seem to remember that you wrote one of the reasons for blogging was to get a publisher to approach you. Do you feel that you have gone against your nature to promote your then potential book?

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Sharell October 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Hi Masalabou, thank you. You have made a very interesting, and astute, observation. I’ve had to completely struggle against my natural nature both in regards to this blog and the book. First the blog, I started writing it and told no one. I still have never promoted it, and most of my friends and family still don’t know about it. My husband has only just started reading it these last few months. I refused to let him go near it previously, but now he loves it too much to stay away. The reason why it has photos is so that people can relate to me more easily. The approach that I’ve take to the blog is to try and create it in a way that is interesting and pleasing to the reader. If I was someone reading my blog, I would want to see pics. It’s the same reason why there are pics in my book too. You know the saying, a picture conveys 1000 words or something like that! I’m a real person, and I want people to know that I am! Keeping my identity private wouldn’t challenge me in any way. The book has been a completely terrifying and confronting experience for me, and pushed me way out of my comfort zone. But that’s what I wanted — I wanted to confront my huge fear of being judged and being inadequate. I’m so glad I did it because the book has been amazingly transformational in many ways. Even my parents read it, can understand me and my life better now, and it’s brought us all closer together. Not to mention all the wonderful, encouraging feedback I’ve received from people. (And despite my fears, no negativity). The whole experience has been very liberating and has made me a much more confident person. :-)

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masalabou October 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I do agree that pictures do make your blog more accessible and I do like them on your blog (particularly some of them convey a lot and you look amazing in others) I’ve done one just post about picking apples in October with some pics but once you have kids it makes you super cautious so I’ve only used scenic ones. However, other blogs I like I think would be spoilt by the photos, I guess I like them the way they are.

It’s true that we are frightened by fear itself almost and that people are much more open and encouraging than we could have hoped.
My therapist told me about exaggerated fear. This was really helpful. She explained how fear is natural and important for survival. For example, if a red bus is coming towards you then you need to be afraid so you step back. However, if you never leave the house because you are afraid of seeing a red bus, then this is ‘exaggerated fear’. There are two ways to combat this. The first is a more psychoanalytic approach looking at why you are so afraid of red buses. The second is a more cognitive behavioural approach, just making yourself do it, seeing other people do it. thinking what will happen if I do it and realising that the earth won’t come to an end. My problem is confrontation. I have been going to a prayer group and I’ve been completely tongue-tied when they have been making anti-Muslim remarks. I’ve got to go back (so as not to run off) but I’m dreading it. I don’t seem to have the same problem with everyone, but I’m so afraid of losing people’s liking (not all the time, but when I come to confront them it surfaces) that it paralyses me.

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Mat Diplo October 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm

A picture is worth a thousand words–if one feels too lazy to write thousand word articles they could just put up a picture and a caption. The problem with pictures though is that Google’s algorithm only “pics-out” words for indexing so flash video and graphics unless tagged remain invisible. I have seen this blog as text only (you can do this by turning off pictures in your browser) but I prefer it with colourful pictures. However, when travelling and using a mobile device, where bandwidth is at a premium, turning pictures off is better. I still think a “travel gallery” section would be awesome–Sharell that picture of you with something like 11 suitcases at some train station really made me feel stressed!!! I only travel with a maximum of 2 suitcases a garment bag and laptop bag ever (even when moving city etc) and I admire you for being able to cope with ELEVEN BAGS–that picture freaked me out!!!
Ps. check out www [DOT] OneBag [DOT] com

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Sharell October 7, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Ha, if you were stressed out by seeing the 11 bags in that setting, you would’ve had a full meltdown if you’d seen a photo of the 11 bags disembarking from New Delhi Railway Station!! It was pure madness! We had to get them to our guesthouse on two cycle rickshaws!!! :-o

I’m warming to the idea of a photo section.

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Mat Diplo October 8, 2011 at 6:35 am

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!! On CYCLE RICKSHAWS??? You are a serious HARDCORE traveller to do this, especially in such an insanely chaotic place like India! *WOW* I could not do that as I would end up losing bags and forgetting bags. You must be one of these super calm and organised people who can remain calm in chaos–I would “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…freak out!!!” (yup like the song). :)

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Sharell October 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

I do get stressed but I just surrender myself to the “system”, which is the only way to get by in India. ;-) That and a little bit of jugaad, or what ever that word is, along the way. Hubby was in charge of continuously counting the bags, because he was used to traveling with lots of people and luggage in his family (a family of five kids and two adults). But still he was much more freaked out than me. I was just of the attitude — there are people to help. People in India (coolies and other walas) take care of everything if you pay them.

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Sharell October 8, 2011 at 11:06 am

Just for you, here’s a pic: http://www.whiteindianhousewife.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/IMG_2282.jpg

Ahhhhhh, freak out!! :-P

And just for a laugh, do you notice the lovely street urinal in the background!! This photo does tell quite a few words.

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Mat Diplo October 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

The cycle rickshaw operators must be so fit in order to haul people and luggage day in day out just like the Nepalese Sherpa Himalaya guides. My eye automatically was drawn to the jumble of electric cables I wouldn’t have spotted the urinals unless you said so as from a distance one would assume it is a phone booth as one would not normally expect to see men peeing in the middle of a crowded street like this–I can’t believe they just pee like this in front of everyone without any shame– they could at least put a plastic curtain up (at least opaque to waist height) or a hinged wooden door at least to waist height.
That must have been some MAJOR excess baggage charge you incurred when you moved from Oz.

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Sharell October 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Actually, I hadn’t moved at that stage! I was just there for a year. Can you believe that most of the bags didn’t belong to me? Hubby had packed up his life from Kolkata into those bags. ;-)

As for me, I spotted the men and not the cables. I can’t believe how utterly shameless they are either.

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Sharell October 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm

I would be cautious too if I had kids, for sure.

It’s very true about fear and exaggerated fear. I’m great at analyzing myself (and really quite enjoy it) but I need a cognitive behavioural approach in order to progress, I’ve discovered. I used to be very non-confrontational as well. I remember we used to have courses at work, and one was on developing assertive skills. The facilitator wanted me to give an example of how I would complain about bad service at a restaurant — and I couldn’t even effectively do that! (I was in my early 20s). India, again, has done wonders for my confrontational/assertiveness skills. A few months back, the food at a restaurant wasn’t good and I decided I had to say something. I was there with hubby and our friend Barns (who had been living in Kerala). They are both very non confrontational, and were quite horrified. But I did it, and did it nicely (in a way that actually surprised and impressed them) and ended up getting a free meal. :-)

Let’s take the people who were saying anti-Muslim remarks as an example, if I found their comments so offensive that I wanted to confront them, I wouldn’t care whether I lost their liking or not — because they’re probably not the kind of people I want to have like me anyway. I used to want everyone to like me too, but I’ve realised that it’s just not worth having some people like me. But confrontation with the anti-Muslim people in your prayer group could actually by beneficial if it’s done in a good way. Their comments are most likely just stemming from ignorance, so maybe you could simply open up the conversation around some of the things they’re saying and dispel them. They might actually be thankful to you for it. But there again, people with extreme views often don’t like to back down from them — so that’s when I feel it’s better just not to associate with them, and I don’t care if they like me or not. ;-) Of course, it’s all easier said than done though!

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Dupree Singh October 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Speaking of the cycle of life, I just read an interesting article that says the world’s population will smash through the 7 BILLION barrier in the next few days according to the United Nations. They 7 BILLIONTH child will most probably be born in Mumbai according to the article.

http : // w w w .
dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2049451/Room-World-population-reach-7-BILLION-days.html

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Dupree Singh October 15, 2011 at 7:35 pm

This proves beyond all reasonable doubt that reincarnation does not exist. :)

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Manny October 15, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Why not? We have been eradicating cockroaches in this part of the world….Their souls have to migrate somewhere…. so they are all becoming people? :)

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arorgovaK September 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Sounds good

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